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Without hope no one can live. Yet, hope can be cruel. Solomon reminds us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov 13:8). So much of our unhappiness is the result of thinking we are going to get something better than we end up with.

Yet no one will argue that disappointment and despair are better alternatives. A loss of hope can be self-fulfilling. Despair is like poison not only to our minds and hearts but to our bodies as well. All kinds of studies have shown the unhealthy effects of anger, anxiety, and hopelessness. Disillusionment without hope can cause minds that were once bright and optimistic to end up bitter, critical, cynical, and miserable.

On the other hand, there’s a time for despair. If hitting bottom brings us to our senses, then a loss of the false hope we’ve been chasing can be the beginning of something better.

Ironically, many of us have learned over the years that some of our best hopes can turn out to be some of our worst nightmares, just as some of our darkest nights can be the beginning of some of our brightest days.

So what is the difference? How can we face the darkness by doing more than lighting a match that will soon burn out?

In my last post I wrote about the fact that because the Bible is rooted in real times, places and witnesses, it gives us a basis for more than hope for hope’s sake.

If Jesus was not manipulating and exploiting our hope, if he really did break out of his burial wrappings, push away the stone, overcome the guards, and walk out of that dark, terrible grave then all of us have the choice to embrace a hope that, in the end, will not let us down.

Speaking of such history the Apostle Paul wrote, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom 15:4).

From the pages of those Scriptures, we need to hear over and over the good and bad times of God’s people– about Joseph, and Daniel, and Mary and Paul. We need to remind ourselves about the experiences of Ruth, and Esther, and Job. Together they can keep us from thinking that hard times reflect a breakdown in our relationship to God. On the contrary, real faith and hope don’t develop without what we see as trouble and disappointment (Rom 5:3-5).

In following Christ, some of us have found ourselves in a darkness we didn’t see coming. Instead of having our prayers quickly answered we’ve found our faith, our hope, and our love tested in ways we never expected.

But there is a reason for that. According to the Scriptures Paul referred to, God considers our faith and hope in him as being worth more than gold. (1Peter 1:3-8; Rom 8:24-25).

So, maybe where we see fear and pain, our Lord sees the possibility of something better than gold. Maybe in our darkness he sees an opportunity for us to put our trust and hope in Him– for his forgiveness, his wisdom, his presence, and for provisions that rest in events as real as his resurrection from the dead.

But now, what are you thinking? Have you too found that some of our best hopes can turn out to be some of our worst nightmares and that, when our hope is in the Lord, some of our darkest nights can eventually turn into our brightest days? Or do you think this kind of talk is just wishful thinking?

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6 Responses to “Hopeful?”

  1. poohpity says:

    False hope sounds like an oxymoron to me. I have found through reading scripture that when we hope in what the Lord has for us our light never goes out. Psalms 37:4 states “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart”. What I have found through that delight is that the desires of my heart are more in tune to God’s will for my life. That will is to think about Him always and trust that through history he has in miracles ways helped us to look to Him. The delight is that we can experience a personal relationship with Him and when we hope in Him and not what we want, we can be assured of a light that will never go out. Reading the Bible can have some hard information to handle but if you take the whole book then you understand all He ever wanted is for us to look to him to be our sole provider and if we place our hope in Him we will never be disappointed.

  2. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    I believe many times we say we believe what God says, but we fail to look for what God says will happen when we have believed, and thereby loose hope.
    Romans 8:28, one of God’s wonderful promise of Him causing every thing to work out for good, ( IF ) we love Him, but i believe very few begin looking for the good that God promises, and thereby our even believing this is lost, because our mind does not stay on what God has said, and desire to see many times the not only good, but great things God has done through some disaster that has taken place we thought was hopeless.

  3. jschutz says:

    I have heard it said that an attribute of Hell is Hopelessness…no chance of ever being with God…eternnal suffering without hope to change your plight.

    The awesome thing about Jesus’ ressurection is that we now have hope…despite our imperfection & sin, we are secure of our citizenship in heaven!!!

    Thank you, Jesus, for giving us hope!

  4. B Murphy says:

    In 2 Corthinians chapter 12 Paul asks the Lord three times to remove the thorn from his flesh and the Lord replys that My grace is sufficiant. Paul concludes that when we are weak we are stong. Our trials are given to us to purify us and build our faith not to destroy our hope. We have to lose our hope in our own flesh, our own ability to control our lives in order to find our only true source of hope, our almighty Father. In this hopeless hopeing we find the greatest gift of all, the great comforter, the Holy Spirit, filling us with gifts far beyond our human imagination. Easter has come.

  5. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Wonderful to find your blog; I linked it to mine.

    About hope. Of course this hope has to be “well versed” for us from Scripture and in the revelation of Jesus found there. If so, then it is greatly nuanced, so that we more and more discard old and even natural expectations, knowing that there is a resurrection life in Jesus for us to live, here and now.

  6. tooblessedkt says:

    Hello, new here…just wanted to say thank you to the author of this post and to all who have responded….reading these have been a great blessing to me this evening. At this point I am struggling with the maintenance of my hope…but I know God is faithful.

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